Iberian Rail Trail is another in a series of great European railway journeys that can be followed by the dedicated railway buff or ardent traveller. This trail begins and ends in Santander. It is a convenient entry point from Britain as it is a year-round ferry destination from Plymouth. This circular rail tour may of course be joined at any point en route.
Santander is a northerly destination for Spain's broad gauge system, but our 5,000 kilometre journey takes in the fascinating metre gauge line along the Costa Cantabrico to Oviedo, an area bristling with rail-served coal mines. The secondary RENFE route is followed towards Leon over a twisting mountain route that is among the most spectacular in Europe.
The line through Ponferrada, until recent years a centre for steam, to Monforte is also mountainous and the trains are colourful. We approach the Bay of Biscay through Orense and Tul before heading south to Portugal. Here the narrow and broad gauge lines along the coast to Porto are examined in detail. The trembling lattice work of the high level bridge built by Eiffel carries trains high above the port-carrying boats bobbing on the Douro.
We return to Spain through the mountains to Guarda and on to Salamanca. From Avila to Madrid, Talgos, expresses and freights struggle for line space, but it's the Mediterranean coast at Velencia that beckons. The Costa del Azahar and Costa Daurada glitter in the background as the railway follows the golden sands to Barcelona. The last leg of out circular journey is via Zaragoza and Bilbao. This is a mouth watering travel experience never before recorded commercially on DVD. Join us on the Iberian Rail Trail.
This one hour programme has a full commentary by Martin Oldfield.
FOR STEAM IN SPAIN AND PORTUGAL FROM 1957 TO 1969 SEE OUR DVD 'PENINSULAR STEAM'